Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Principal of the UWI Cave Hill Campus, Sir Hilary Beckles, share a light moment during the launch. (A. Miller/BGIS)

Government is not taking the impact of climate change on Barbados lightly and is taking steps to accelerate its green economy to take hold of the spin-off social, environmental and employment opportunities.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, made this assertion today, while addressing the launch of the Government of Barbados-United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Partnership for a Resource Efficient Green Economy in Barbados and the Undertaking of a Green Economy Scoping Study by the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.?? It was held in the UWI’s Faculty of Medical Sciences Laboratory and Teaching Complex.

In highlighting the significance of the partnership, the Prime Minister said it came at a time in global history, when a multi-stakeholder approach was needed to meet the challenges posed by climate change in the island and throughout the wider world.

"Today’s launch of a new partnership and then the presence of each of you today, is a signal to all observers, that we are rising to the challenge.?? In Barbados, we are facing a number of unprecedented challenges but we are not daunted and will continue to excel as a nation, expressly through collaborations such as this Partnership for a Resource Efficient Green Economy," Mr. Stuart emphasised.??

Cognisant of government’s commitment to a green economy, the Prime Minister stressed it would redouble its efforts to "engage businesses and consumers in its road to greening".

Mr. Stuart, who outlined government’s six-pronged approach to achieving the growth and acceleration of Barbados’ green economy, said it would: uphold the national principles of sustainable development; promote and enable government to be a model institution for integration, efficiency and environmental sustainability; and set significant national, but realistic targets in various areas, such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, public transport and food security.

The green economy would also reflect policies and programmes that will catalyse new career pathways for Barbadian youth; build on existing capacities and systems, both in the public and private sectors and track the progress in greening the economy towards achieving sustainable development.

Regarding the Scoping Study, Mr. Stuart mentioned it would analyse the "crucial lateral linkages" between sectors such as transportation, tourism, housing and agriculture. Additionally, it would also examine the implications for the cross-cutting issues of water, energy and waste management.

"It will be essential that our publics become knowledgeable on the issues and relevance associated with the green economy. All stakeholders, including farmers, businessmen, students, hoteliers and homemakers, need to appreciate the extent to which a green economy, can contribute to their quality of life.

"Our approach to selling the virtues of this economic avenue needs to surpass the abstract and the academic and be developed into a ???bread and butter’ discourse that resonates with the average person," Mr. Stuart underlined.

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